My adventures on a submarine in Maui, Hawaii
To me, a beach vacation means lying on the beach every day with a cocktail in one hand, the other holding a juicy novel. Enter a determined sixteen-year-old. To my daughter, a beach vacation means trotting out for a death-defying activity every day. A singular experience and one I'd never braved before on prior trips to Hawaii was a submarine ride in the deep-blue waters of the Pacific ocean. The two-hour trip aboard the Atlantis (ominously named, you might say!) didn't start off very auspiciously. I felt a frisson of fear glide down my spine when the concierge at the hotel observed that she didn't like going on the boat because she gets claustrophobic in small spaces. She was of course, referring to the 45 minutes that the boat is totally submerged under the water. You can't come up for a tall glass of air until the submarine resurfaces. The captain's run-down of the safety features of the life vest didn't inspire confidence either. If the life vest fails to inflate, he said,"Well, Mahalo" (Have a good day)!
I was filled with dread as I descended down the narrow plank ladder to a 45-seater ship, with glass peep holes facing outward. To the tune of music from "The Titanic,", we descended to a depth of 131 feet. I held my breath. . . I needn't have. I was soon so lost to the sights of the exotic fish swimming right up to the glass; unconcerned, as we gazed out to them.
We saw sting rays flapping their twelve-inch wings, like newly-washed laundry on a clothesline. We saw tropical fish with puffy lips, sometimes called "Angelina Jolie lips." We saw pufferfish that contain tetrodotoxin, that is unto 1200 times more poisonous than cyanide, and even one pufferfish can kill 30 humans, with no known antidote. We saw football-shaped fish, cruising past us like a fleet of airships on a mission. We saw "man fish" called so, because if you open their mouths, their teeth resemble human molars.
We had a close encounter with a shipwrecked boat on the north reef, with a school of divers flapping in and out of the ruins. With 90 years of water pounding its sides, the vessel sure looked weather-beaten! One of the divers held up a sign. "I've got my dinner picked out, " it said. Hahaha. . .
And whoosh! Up we went, breaking the surface of the water like bubbles emitting from the snout of a whale.
As seen on a Hawaiian billboard: "The tide may turn; the salt may wash off; the tan may fade; but the memories will always remain. . ."
Hang tight. . .up next for me: ZIPLINING! Yikes!